Active debris removal is “definitely a need, and I think there is a use case for industry to get after that as a service-based opportunity,” said Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt.
By THERESA HITCHENS on September 16
MAUI: There is a need for industry capabilities to clean up burgeoning amounts of space junk, and at the same time an urgency to getting a civil authority for managing orbital traffic up and running, according to Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt, vice commander of Space Force Space Operations Command.
“We need to pick up debris — we need trash trucks. We need things to go make debris go away,” she told the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference here on Wednesday. “That’s definitely a need, and I think there is a use case for industry to get after that as a service-based opportunity.”
The Defense Department currently tracks more than 27,000 objects in space, most of which is debris — such as defunct rocket bodies, according to NASA.
While Burt didn’t exactly say Space Force was planning on paying industry to develop debris removal technology, her reference to the concept of space trash collection as a service is suggestive – given that DoD has in recent months expressed interest in such a model for a number of different space capabilities, from satellite communications to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) imagery and analysis.
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